In week two of the SMP Snack series, Manager of SMP eGaming’s Regulatory Compliance Jenny Hedges examines why affiliates should be establishing a strong culture of compliance within their business, with some added actionable insight into how this can be achieved.

As highlighted in last week’s snack article, to operate sustainably, affiliates must demonstrate to the operator that they not only have an understanding of regulatory requirements, but recognise the importance of compliance and take its requirements seriously.

With this in mind, as part of best practice, affiliates should be establishing an internal compliance culture that meets the same, or at least similar standards of the operator. In my experience, a strong culture of compliance in any organisation, within any industry, is key to a successful business. It goes beyond once-a-year, mandatory training for staff; a culture needs to be embedded into everyday processes and drive how individuals within the business work.

Unsurprisingly, culture must be driven from the top. If compliance, integrity and ethics are to play a part in everyone’s role, management need to lead by example as well as ensuring all members of the organisation are on board and understand their importance. This understanding needs to include the commercial benefits as well as the risks: all members of the business need to have a strong understanding of why compliance is so important to the sustainability of the business, how it can give them a competitive advantage and how it specifically applies to their role.

Principle needs to be backed up with enforcement, however: management should take non-compliance very seriously. There needs to be be penalties for anyone who doesn’t act accordingly and puts the business or operator at risk of breaching regulation – although these would ideally be balanced with good compliance behaviours being recognised within the company’s rewards structure too.

As for resource, in-house compliance specialists are an ideal solution, but financially unrealistic for many affiliates. A better commercial balance may be found by engaging external consultants on an ongoing basis – we have done a lot of work recently not only to help create positive compliance cultures, but also to maintain them through spot checks and training.

Although such a culture can be difficult to implement, training in best practices is available. The Advertising Standards Authority, Affiliate Insider Training Academy and, of course, our eLearning platform, offer a variety of courses and resources to guide affiliate leaders.